the real fa cup

Sinclair’s Spectrum

Colwyn Bay 2-1 Ossett Town
FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round 2013/14

The Real FA Cup went international for this game on Welsh soil between Conference North side Colwyn Bay and Ossett Town, from the Northern Premier League Division One.

The visitors were backed by an admirably vocal following, one of whom conformed wonderfully to Yorkshire stereotype by ordering ‘chips un greeva, luv’ from the tea stand before the game.

They may be at Colwyn Bay to manage/coach rather than focus on playing, but I still found it highly amusing that 1997 FA Cup winner Frank Sinclair and coach Ade Akinbiyi were unused substitutes. According to the programme, Sinclair had brought himself on for the final 20 minutes in the previous round, and I was anticipating a similar appearance this time around.

This was my first visit to Bay’s loveable Llanelian Road ground, and I was still trying to decide where to stand when the hosts took a 10th minute lead. Tom Smyth launched a long throw into the box, which was flicked on by number nine Rob Hopley for strike partner Jamie Ellison to head into the net from close range. Very organised, effective football.

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Tom Smyth launches the ball into the area for the opening goal

Ossett stood bravely as they were battered for the rest of the half – keeper Tom Taylor made a number of fine stops. But it looked as though they would sink without trace when Cameron Darkwah doubled Bay’s lead just before the break.

Llanelian Road has little pockets of terracing either side of its main stand, running to the edge of the penalty area, and I decided to take up residence there, right in amongst an entertaining bunch of regulars. Darkwah’s sensational strike can be credited to the bloke who shouted ‘catch the bloody thing!’ as goalkeeper Chris Sanna punched the ball clear from an Ossett cross. The ball broke to right-back Danny Taylor, who saw an opportunity to drive forward with the ball and made up a huge amount of ground before feeding Darkwah. The lively winger then weaved through a bit of traffic and caught everybody by surprise as he rifled an early shot past Taylor and into the net. I couldn’t help but jubilantly throw my arms in the air: this was one of the best counter-attacking goals I had ever seen in the flesh.

You had to feel for the Yorkshiremen who’d travelled more than 100 miles to see their team seemingly outclassed and dumped out of the cup. But the lads behind the goal held their heads high, chanted songs expressing a particular dislike for Ossett Albion and saw their team make more of a fist of things in the second half.

With the hosts not overly desperate to notch a third, Town came into the game and forced Sanna into a couple of acrobatic saves. Following a number of corners, Andrew Fox was able to prod the ball beyond the goalkeeper and put Craig Elliot’s men right back into the contest.

Bay fans chuckled as the tannoy announced that Fernando Moke was coming off the bench for Town, but the man who must be fed up of hearing Torres jokes nearly had the last laugh himself, firing at goal, but his effort was hacked clear. The goalkeeper went up for a late corner but a wayward delivery meant he was unable to force a replay. A great fightback from the visitors in the second period and they can be proud of their efforts in coming this far in the competition.

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Sheep fail to engage with the game as Colwyn Bay attack

As for Colwyn Bay, well, I got a taxi back to the station, and the driver was surprised that they had progressed. With another home draw against lower league opposition coming up in the Fourth Qualifying Round, Sinclair’s men could well be moving on from shocking cabbies to Football League clubs in the next few weeks.

Words & Pictures: Andy Lloyd-Williams
Andy is a lapsed AFC Bournemouth fan, who’s recently returned to his non-league roots.
Andy has just released an up to date paperback edition of RVP: The Biography of Robin Van Persie, available here.
Twitter: @A_LloydWilliams

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